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But lately I’ve been wanting to talk about it openly. I’ve had a lot of feelings about a lot of related things and I want to be able to say something without feeling like I’m talking over someone else.
So I guess I’m going to talk about it now.
Back in October I took the post picture during the WDNB initiative. And then when time came to post it, I hesitated.
I looked at the picture, and I looked at the Internet, and thought am I ready to tell everyone? I’ve talked about my anxiety stuff before, but this always felt different to me somehow. Maybe because I wasn’t diagnosed until after I started Twitter stuff. Maybe because this was physical, and newish, and I still haven’t digested it emotionally some days.
Maybe because I’m starting to understand I may never fully digest it emotionally.
I wasn't ready then, and I'm not sure I'm ready now, but I’m just going to say it. I have rheumatoid arthritis.
For those who don’t know, which I’m assuming is most of you, the lowdown is this: rheumatoid arthritis is an autoimmune disease that causes my body to attack itself, particularly my joints and the lining between my joints. It’s a debilitating, incurable (thus, chronic) disease that causes chronic pain and usually affects people twice my age or older, but has also been known to attack many in my age group and even younger. I was diagnosed at twenty, but my symptoms started at nineteen. I’ll save the story for another day because this isn’t actually about that.
This is about the Miracle Cure trope.
There are many problems with the Miracle Cure trope, but the biggest, to me, is the insinuation that people who are chronically ill/disabled/neuroatypical can’t have happiness if they aren’t cured. This repetition of the happy ending = Miracle Cure is a punch in the stomach that says you aren’t whole unless you’re healthy.
What’s worse is that people believe it.
What made my diagnosis even more difficult for me, was many of my well-intentioned family members didn’t want to accept it. I can’t tell you how many times I heard something along the lines of “Don’t worry, we’ll find a way to make you healthy.” I can’t tell you how many arguments I had where I was told off for having a bad attitude when I said, “There isn’t a cure. I need to accept this.”
I’m not blaming anymore. I’m not complaining. I love my family and it just took time for everyone to come to terms with what was happening.
But a large part of the reason why that transition period was so rocky, and why those arguments were so hurtful was because we were back to the Miracle Cure that everyone was expecting. There was this message, over and over, of “you can’t be happy until you’re cured.”
Except I probably wasn’t going to be cured. Right now, at least, there isn’t a cure.
The Miracle Cure trope isn’t just something stupid we occasionally see in fiction. It’s a real, damaging thing that feels like a knife to the gut to those who are chronically ill/disabled/neuroatypical.
The Miracle Cure says, “it’s too hard for me to see you as Sick. I’d rather pretend you’ll be Healthy again soon.”
The Miracle Cure says, “thinking about you having an incurable condition is too scary. I’d rather pretend you’ll be Normal again.”
The Miracle Cure says, “you aren’t whole if you aren’t healthy, neurotypical, and able-bodied.”
The Miracle Cure trope hurts. And if I never see it again in fiction, or hear it referenced again in reality, it’ll be too soon.
What's the big deal about the "Miracle Cure" trope? @Ava_Jae explains why it's so damaging on & off the page. (Click to tweet)
"The Miracle Cure trope isn't just something stupid we occasionally see in fiction." (Click to tweet)